Lightning look to put halt to struggles against Flames
FLAMES (14-14-2) at LIGHTNING (12-16-2)
TV: SNET-CGY (HD), SUN (HD)
Calgary 6-3-1; Tampa Bay 3-7-0
This is the only meeting on the 2011-12 schedule between these teams. They last met a little over a year ago, on Dec. 7, 2010, with Rene Bourque
scoring the game-winning goal and adding a pair of assists in a 4-2 Flames victory in Calgary.
Three weeks after the Flames beat the Lightning last season, they relieved general manager Darryl Sutter of his duties and appointed Jay Feaster as acting GM -- he was given the permanent position this past summer. Feaster held the same position in Tampa Bay when the franchise won its only Stanley Cup back in 2004. He's working to get Calgary back into the playoffs after a two-year absence.
After sweeping a three-game homestand to creep closer in the Western Conference playoff race and scoring 13 goals in the process, Calgary found offense harder to come by when it began a four-game road trip Tuesday in Nashville. Curtis Glencross
scored in the second period to draw the Flames even, but they yielded a power-play goal to Colin Wilson early in the third that proved decisive in a 2-1 loss. It wasn't Miikka Kiprusoff
's fault, as he stopped 43 shots in one of his best performances of the season.
"Just because we lost one game, it's not the end of the world," Glencross said in the Calgary Herald. "We've been playing well. We're going to keep going, we're going to get focused for the next game."
With just one win in its last eight games, the sun in Tampa Bay hasn't been shining very brightly on its hockey team of late. The Lightning returned home from a four-game road trip to face New Jersey on Monday and fell behind just 28 seconds after the opening faceoff. They battled back from an early two-goal deficit to tie, but gave up three goals in the second on just six shots. Steven Stamkos tried to rally the Bolts again with a pair of goals in the third, but it wasn't enough in a 5-4 defeat.
"We fought and we gave it everything we had," coach Guy Boucher said. "We wanted to give a show to our fans and we care about our fans, so we didn't want to quit. It's tough mentally on the players and I'm not going to point any fingers here. It's a team sport and there are moments in a franchise, moments in a season, in segments of a season that you don't understand why. It's just happening this way and you have to manage it mentally. It matters how your react to it and react the right way, or you sink lower."
Flames captain Jarome Iginla
was held off the board Tuesday despite a team-high eight shots, but had four goals and two assists in a three-game span the previous week to earn First Star honors from the NHL. … Stamkos moved into a tie for second in the League with 18 goals after his third-period efforts for the Lightning on Monday. Martin St. Louis has goals in two straight and 3 goals in his last four games.
Bourque has been battling the flu, while Calgary goalie Henrik Karlsson
(sprained MCL), defenseman Anton Babchuk
(hand) and Mark Giordano
(leg) and forward David Moss
(foot) are on injured reserve. … St. Louis is out indefinitely for Tampa Bay after a puck to the face during last Thursday's morning skate resulted in facial fractures. Defenseman Mattias Ohlund has missed the entire season recovering from knee surgery.
Flames defenseman Brett Carson
made his season debut against the Predators, coming off injured reserve to log 12:18 of ice time with a shot on goal and a blocked shot. … Stamkos has recorded at least a point in 11 of the 12 home games the Lightning have played this season.
Both teams were unhappy with their starts in their most recent games. Calgary in particular felt the game was there for the taking in the first period, and it failed to capitalize.
"If we'd just played a smarter, better first period, we probably come out of here with some points," forward Alex Tanguay
said in the Calgary Herald. "We have to make sure we're ready, especially on the road, in the first period."